Baylor women beat Iowa State in Big 12 title game
With the way Brittney Griner and top-ranked Baylor have
dominated the Big 12, the Lady Bears’ third consecutive conference
title is really no surprise.
Especially to the runner-up.
Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly said early in conference play
what everybody else was thinking – that the Big 12 race was
basically to determine who finished behind Baylor. The 23rd-ranked
Cyclones wound up second in both the regular season and the
tournament, which ended with Baylor’s 75-47 title game victory
”They are different than anyone in the country,” Fennelly said
after the final game. ”They’ve proven that over the last two
Along with their three Big 12 tournament championships in a row,
the Lady Bears (32-1) have won the league’s last three
regular-season titles as well – going undefeated through the league
for the last two. They became the NCAA’s first 40-win team last
season for an undefeated national title.
Griner scored 31 points, 23 by halftime as the two-time
All-American outscored Iowa State by 10 points on her own. Odyssey
Sims added 20 points with three 3-pointers in the first 4 minutes
”Winning never gets old, especially this one,” said Griner,
one of five Baylor seniors. ”We wanted to celebrate this,
everybody did. This is our last go-around with the Big 12. Meant
everything to us.”
Now they can focus on winning the biggest prize one more time
with their 6-foot-8 senior star.
Iowa State (23-8) got off to a good start with Anna Prins making
a 3-pointer on its opening attempt before another long-range shot
by Hallie Christofferson for a 6-5 lead. But the Cyclones then went
more than 8 minutes without scoring, a span in which they missed
six shots and had eight turnovers while Baylor scored 19 points in
a row for a double-digit lead that just kept growing.
Baylor had the lead for good at 7-6 on Griner’s putback after
she grabbed the rebound of her only missed shot out of 12 attempts
in the first half.
The Lady Bears’ fifth Big 12 tournament title – all coming in a
stretch that began in 2005, the year of their first national title
– broke a tie with Oklahoma for the most in the league.
They will surely be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA
tournament and will play their first games in two weeks on the Waco
campus, where they have won a nation-best 55 games in a row. They
have won 30 straight overall since losing to Stanford at a
tournament in Hawaii a week into the season.
”It’s always good to send a statement going into the NCAA
tournament,” Sims said. ”We’re just going out there having fun,
one game at a time.”
Baylor has won 49 consecutive regular-season and tournament
games in the Big 12, though that streak doesn’t include the NCAA
regional final loss to then-conference foe Texas A&M two years
ago in the American Airlines Center, where they won their latest
”We had that epic disappointment along the way. I’m never going
to forget that,” coach Kim Mulkey said. ”Those kinds of things
The Lady Bears were up 41-13 at the break, holding Iowa State to
the fewest points ever in a single half of a Big 12 tournament
Griner finished 14 of 17 shooting and had as many field goals as
Iowa State’s entire team when she came out of the game for good
with 4:12 left.
When Griner got near the Baylor bench, she shared a long hug
with Mulkey while getting a large ovation from an adoring crowd
with the game being played only about 100 miles from the Baylor
Sims, the junior All-American point guard and only non-senior in
Baylor’s starting lineup, reached down and patted the floor after
hitting her third 3-pointer from in front of the Baylor bench. That
put the Lady Bears up 50-18 and Iowa State called a timeout, during
which Mulkey enthusiastically put her arms around Sims and patted
the point guard on the back.
”When you look at a kid that works that hard on the defensive
end of the floor, it’s good to see her have an offensive production
like that,” Mulkey said. ”I’m hardest on point guards. I was
probably hardest on Odyssey in that film room (Sunday) night. …
When they have a game like today, you want to share it with
Prins had 20 points and Nikki Moody 12 for the Cyclones in their
first Big 12 title game since 2007.
Baylor was coming off a tough semifinal matchup, a 77-69 victory
Sunday over Oklahoma State, which was within three points in the
final minute after the Lady Bears had a season-high 24 turnovers.
While they never trailed, it was their only game against a Big 12
opponent this season decided by less than 10 points.
The championship game was more like the kind of games Baylor has
had in its Big 12 run, lopsided with Griner playing a big part.
”I don’t think there’s any question that everyone kind of saw
that bear kind of came out of hibernation kind of thing,” Fennelly